The Cardinals take the field for "QB school"
The Cardinals' two-day quarterback school began Wednesday, and for many of the veterans on hand, there was nothing overtly distinguishable about the one-hour practice.
But for second-round draft pick Markus Golden, it was his first trip to University of Phoenix Stadium, and also the latest reminder that his first NFL season is right around the corner.
"It feels like a preview, especially being in the stadium for the first time," Golden said. "It's a blessing. It feels good to get out here. If you are kind of nervous, you've got a couple days to get it out before everybody gets here and camp really gets going."
In Arians' previous two years, quarterback school was held at the team's training facility in Tempe, but this move
helps the players get acclimated to the surroundings they'll have throughout August. The group – which consists of the quarterbacks, the rookies and veterans returning from injury – will practice once more on Thursday before the Cardinals' full-roster conditioning test Friday and the start of training camp Saturday.
Once the roster balloons to 90 players, the reps will be harder to come by, which is why quarterback Chandler Harnish said quarterback school can help the young players make strides.
"It's absolutely huge because the only way to really learn is to go out and do it," Harnish said. "You can sit in a meeting, you can take notes and you can watch, but when you go out and learn, and you succeed or fail, that's when you can really take that in and learn from it. It's huge for those guys to get out here to get mental reps, physical reps and then when everybody reports, things are slowed down a bit."
Harnish will compete with Logan Thomas and Phillip Sims for the third quarterback spot in training camp, a battle which coach Bruce Arians says is wide open. Snaps were at a premium Wednesday as the trio shared throws with starter Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton, and Harnish said in a competition this close, it's imperative to be on top of your game at all times.
"We all have good relationships in the quarterback room, there's no doubt," Harnish said. "We want to see each other succeed. But we all realize there's probably going to be a couple guys let go. Everything we do – from meetings, to breakfast, to lifting, to practice, and everything in between – I'd imagine they're watching every move we make. You just want to be the best you can be and be yourself, but at the same time, you've got to understand there's a job on the line."
The big decisions will be made after the coaches get a feel for their roster in training camp. The best way to judge a player comes when the pads go on, and that will happen Monday.
Golden was pretty excited for quarterback school, but he'll be ecstatic when the hitting begins.
"It's going to be real, man," Golden said. "You won't need to use your speed rush all the time. You've got to go around guys and the linemen are complaining, saying they could really block us if we had shoulder pads. I'm going to get the chance to prove to those guys that they can't block me. Really, I'm just ready to compete, and when you have your equipment on, it's all about competing, because you can be physical. That's what football's about."